Who Will Be Your Teacher Today?
If there is a time when I cannot attend my class, then I may ask someone to cover for me, and in Hong Kong especially, this is known as Big Brother being in charge.
The idea being that if the Sifu (Teacher/Father) is not there, then the eldest Son is left in charge, and what he says, goes.
I have been lucky enough to have been gifted this responsibility myself in Hong Kong, much to the surprise and shock to the few newer members would did not yet know who I was, but never to those of senior ranking.
Now sometimes it can seem to the Big Brother who is left to take class, that this responsibility may not have been received too well with a few of the remaining seniors and may sense a feeling of, ‘Who is he to teach me?’ or notice separate personal training going on, separate that is, to what has been instructed and even observe occasional conversations starting to break out.
NOT WHEN IT’S ME being big Brother, I might add.
The reason I mention this is that I am very disappointed by those who believe it is only me that can teach them.
Who do you think you are?
WE can ALL learn, from anybody.
The teacher yes, but even the beginner, they all have something to offer.
I like to teach my seniors how to teach, as there are many who can do, but are simply not able to get that message across.
Likewise there are those who are able to teach but are getting nothing back from this.
I say, “If you are not learning through teaching then you are not teaching right.”
Now first of all, to not listen to the person that Sifu has left in charge (and probably only acting out the Sifu’s instructions), is the greatest disrespect, and something I do not and will not tolerate.
Next, if you are in front of a line of students and are just about to give some comment or correction, MAKE SURE that before you say anything to anyone, that you are not making the same mistake yourself.
Use these people as your mirror, and DO NOT just walk up and down telling them what to do, lead by example, these are all signs of becoming a good teacher.
It is amazing how much you can learn from beginners, what is natural and what needs to be trained for example.
I remember somebody once asking Sifu Ip Chun;
“What is the difference between the student and the Master?”
And his answer?
“The Master makes the difficult look simple, and the student makes the simple look difficult“.
So in short, if you wish to be a good teacher you should first be a good learner.
And how do we become better teachers?
We keep on learning and we keep showing respect too.
The man who claims to know everything is a fool, for his learning has ceased.